March Madness. In the US, it’s the NCAA knockout basketball tournament between American universities which is known for throwing up shock results every year. In Ireland, in 2019, March Madness describes the scene in Dublin Label Diffusion Lab’s HQ. With 3 releases in three weeks including Soulé’s debut EP ‘Love Cycles’, and Jafaris’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Stride’. That run is set to an end with the release of Cork native Rushes’ debut EP ‘Glimpse’.
Raised in Skibbereen, Sean Walsh AKA Rushes, began writing music at the age of 11. After moving to Dublin to begin a music production course, he found himself working longer hours on his songs than his assignments. Three years and four singles later, Rushes is set to step to the fore and release his debut EP.
Title track Glimpse sets the pace perfectly. Beautifully layered and textured with a popping chorus it was an obvious choice as a single. Delicately showcasing his vocal ability, Rushes creates an aura and aesthetic that many artists spend years trying to develop.
Passion and Desire form the emotional core of the EP. Passion combines subdued percussion with smooth melodies creating a lustful sense of longing with Rushes proclaiming “Say you ain’t precious/ It’s our connection/ I got your body, got your blessing”throughout the chourus. The intent and message are focused showcasing a darker never before seen side to Rushes.
Upbeat and soulful Liquor delivers the most anthemic shot on the EP. A pop hit from the off, its beautifully crisp melody and ascending vocal lines soaked in alcohol fuelled romance.
Still Water featuring Diffusion Lab labelmate Jafaris delivers darker R&B textures and more hip-hop driven sound to proceedings but is still unmistakably a Rushes track, with familiar soaring tones and emphatic choruses punch. Jafaris’s verse: “Don’t need to be famous/ Cause I’m so addicted to you/ That’s why I got dinner for two” hits perfectly, allowing for Rushes vocals to snake around one of Irish hip hops most promising stars. This track is a potential smash, a remarkable combination of artists beginning their journey to the top of their game. A moment both artists will look back on as the start of something special.
For the most part ‘Glimpse’ is a beautifully delivered debut EP and a strong foundation to build from for future releases. It will be fascinating to see what direction Rushes takes from here. As for Diffusion Lab, well the good times roll on, and March 2019, the moment the label took Ireland by storm, has ended on another high note.